(Last Updated On: February 27, 2017)
Kenya’s biggest telecommunication company, Safaricom, is rolling out 16,000 M-Pesa cards in a pilot phase of introducing a new method of payment.
This was first tested last year among students through the Blaze M-Pesa Card and Safaricom M-Pesa card so that they could get some feedback to analyze then make some improvements to the users experience. The universities which participated were United States International University Africa (USIU), Catholic University of East Africa, Kenyatta University and Mt Kenya University.
The new card has been introduced to curb the problem in the current method where using the Buy Goods and Services option in the M-Pesa menu has a problem of inputting wrong payment amounts at the till.
The Lipa Na Mpesa card uses chip and pin technology together with Near Field Communication (NFC) so the user can just tap and enter their pin numbers. The amount to pay will be deducted from the Mpesa account associated with the card.
Back in 2013, Safaricom launched a debit card in partnership with I&M Bank, however, it wasn’t a hit since the product was early into the market. Just a small number of people used cards to pay for goods.
Currently 93% of all transactions in Kenya are cash based. This is a huge percentage as compared to countries like Singapore 39% cash based, Netherlands 40%, France 41% and USA 65%.